If Richmond are again unfurling a premiership flag this time next year they will be certified as one of the AFL’s greatest-ever teams.
Club favourites, including Neil Balme, will help show off the spoils of the Tigers’ 2019 and 2020 triumphs in front of 50,000 fans at the MCG on Thursday night.
With capacity capped at 50 per cent, a parochial Richmond crowd will be in the ground for the traditional season-opening clash with Carlton.
It will be the club’s first step towards reaching heights not even the most die-hard Tigers fan could have imagined only five years ago.
After going 37 years without a premiership, Richmond supporters are lapping up the current golden era that has seen the Tigers claim three of the last four premierships.
The season where they fell short, 2018, was their most dominant after finishing on top of the ladder, but were brought undone by a Mason Cox cameo in the preliminary final.
Two teams have claimed three-straight premierships this century – the Brisbane Lions (2001-03) and Hawthorn (2013-15) – but a fourth title in five years is something that has not been done since Melbourne won five from six between 1955 and 1960.
Even the Hawks’ powerhouse teams of the 1980s and early 1990s spread their five premierships out over nine seasons.
Despite Richmond’s shot at history, captain Trent Cotchin has insisted the Tigers are not motivated by great teams from other eras.
Time will tell how much energy the unique experience of winning a premiership in the Queensland hub last season took out of Damien Hardwick’s group.
But their journey to the 2021 flag begins against a team that have not lost for eight years, back when the Tigers were still the butt of jokes.
While Geelong, the team Richmond defeated in last year’s grand final, Port Adelaide and the Brisbane Lions are strong contenders to take the Tigers’ crown, any team with Dustin Martin in it already carries a major advantage.
Apart from defender Bachar Houli (calf), the bulk of the Tigers’ premiership squad have been named to take on the Blues.
Two-time premiership hero Marlion Pickett is a chance to be named as Richmond’s first medical substitute after being included as one of four emergencies.